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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

Big Game  (2015)
2½ Stars
Directed by Jalmari Helander.
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson, Victor Garber, Felicity Huffman, Jim Broadbent, Ted Levine, Mehmet Kurtulus, Jorma Tommila, Risto Salmi.
2015 – 87 minutes
Rated: Rated PG-13 (for violence and some language).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman for, August 24, 2015.
When President of the United States William Alan Moore (Samuel L. Jackson) narrowly evades an assassination attempt while aboard Air Force One, he and his escape pod safely land in the remote Finnish wilderness. With crooked Secret Service agent Morris (Ray Stevenson) and a gang of old-fashioned psychopaths (led by Mehmet Kurtulus) hot on his trail, Moore must rely on Oskari (Onni Tommila), a bow-and-arrow-sporting 13-year-old boy on a rite-of-passage mission, to guide him back to civilization.

Written and directed by Jalmari Helander (2010's "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale"), "Big Game" is preposterous and lively in equal measure, a sort of "Cliffhanger" for kids that older viewers should also easily be able to enjoy. The premise is wholly predictable and not exactly novel, but the film plays like a comfort-food diversion with solid action, magnificent aerial scenery (with Bavaria standing in for Finland), and likable lead actors. Samuel L. Jackson (2015's "Barely Lethal") effectively portrays POTUS with a low-key, fallible humanity, while Onni Tommila is a natural as Oskari, finding it within himself to prove wrong his father's doubts about his bravery and save the day. Ray Stevenson (2015's "Insurgent") also makes the most of main villain Morris, giving his stock role a sliver of a conscience behind his despicable actions. "Big Game" won't be reinventing the wheel or anything else any time soon, but there is a certain amiableness to its slick, no-nonsense, unapologetic adherence to formula.
© 2015 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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